Bronze Head of a Woman

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Image courtesy of the British Museum

Today we’re looking at this female head made from bronze and filled with lead, which might have been a mirror cover. It was found in Greece and dates back to 350-330 BCE, and now belongs to the collection of the British Museum although it’s not on display.

Many ancient cultures used mirrors, and I came across mirror lids of varying styles and shapes while doing research for this post. Most of the classical ones have scenes engraved on them, so I kept this one because I found it to be more interesting, first of all in the way it’s carved. The lids that depict scenes are relatively flat with low relief engravings, whereas this one is carved in three dimensions. Also, the subject differs significantly and this one is much more related to the use of its corresponding object. Remember the water jar? This has essentially the same context  in that it’s an image of a person, featured on an object whose function is to give an image of the person. Of course, this may not be a mirror lid at all in which case this whole argument is pointless; but you can learn more about this artifact here and formulate your own opinion.

Self portrait in the studio at Peckham after Steenwyck the Younger

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Image courtesy of Art Daily

Today, we’re looking at a 2015 painting by the amazing Raqib Shaw. It’s part of a series of four paintings based on works from the National Gallery. I picked this one because it fits the exhibition particularly well, being a self portrait set inside the artist’s studio. A lot of imagery is reminiscent of himself and his work, such as the bronze sculpture which was first exhibited at the same time as this painting. Other elements that refer to the artist in this painting are his dogs and his champagne case.

I also like that there is an actual mirror at the center of the painting where the representation of the artist is reflected. This might be linked to the fact that it is adapted from an older painting by Steenwyck, dating back to 1610. As you can see if you compare it with the original below, Shaw kept the basic structure and format of the painting, as well as some striking elements: the architectural features, the tablecloth, and the floor design. His painting is more charged than the original, in his usual opulent style and with his particular technique of painting with enamel using a porcupine quill, which renders this precision and realistic feel. Another difference you will have noticed is the background, which features views on a garden in Shaw’s version. This is the view he has from his studio; so effectively, he hasn’t represented his workplace in terms of structural features but in terms of its exterior.

I’m a big fan of this painting because of its very personal nature but also because there is plenty to look at. It’s full of technique, color work, but also choices, which gives it a striking personality that I fell can sometimes get lost in a lot of contemporary art.

about 1610

Green Apple

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Image courtesy of Bord’Eau

This mind blowing dessert is the flagship dessert of Restaurant Bord’Eau, a 2 Michelin Star restaurant located in Amsterdam. It consists of an apple made from blown sugar, which is one of the hardest things to do; and apple core made from apple sorbet with chocolate for the seeds. This comes on top of puff pastry with cream of walnut and caramel. Needless to say I would kill to go there and try this (and the rest of their menu which also looks amazing).

This is one of the few times that a food post actually fits perfectly within the current exhibition. This dessert is a reconstructed apple; a reflection on the fruit both in terms of visual identity and in terms of taste (I’ve read some reviews). So yeah, I’m really impressed by the conceptual work that was done on this dessert, and here is the link to the restaurant’s website. Hopefully one day I’ll be lucky enough to eat there. In the meantime, I saved their menu on my computer for bad days.

Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Today’s post is a throwback to my trip to Boston last year. Apologies for the lack of pictures, my phone was in a pitiful state at the time.

Many museums have monthly events like a mini party, and I went to one at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I hadn’t had the chance to visit the museum before, and this was not the best time to do so as it was pretty crowded; but I still got a relatively good feel of it. So Third Thursdays happen every third thursday of each month there, and they’re an evening event featuring some live music, spotlight talks, and alcohol. There was a mini treasure hunt the day I went which was really cool and fit the spirit of the museum.

This post is not going to be a fully fleshed museum review because it wasn’t  fully fleshed visit, but I will share my observations. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a house museum, which is usually not my thing, but this one is really beautiful. Plus, Isabella Stewart Gardner was an art patron and collector herself, which makes it so much more interesting because you get to see her collection as well as her house. I think this museum gets a little overshadowed by the MFA which is very nearby, but it tells a completely different story and is much more intimate without being small. I highly encourage everyone to visit it, on a Third Thursday or not, and I will definitely go back there on my next trip to Boston.

Here is some info on the upcoming Third Thursdays

And some info on Isabella Stewart Gardner who’s a very cool woman to look up to since it was International Women’s Day last week

And finally a link to the museum’s websiteIMG-20150619-WA0010

All Art Has Been Contemporary

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Image courtesy of the MFA Boston

This neon installation by Maurizio Nannucci is part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. You can check out the picture below to see how it looks like on display today. Nannucci is an artist who works a lot with neon, but this piece is particularly striking to me because it’s self referring. It’s a reflection on art by an artist, and more specifically on contemporary art by a contemporary artist. Now for the backstory, I’ve been getting more and more interested in contemporary art thanks to my current job, and I find it interesting how simple it can be while at the same time conveying some important depth. All art has indeed been contemporary, but not all art has been called contemporary. Should we have a new designation for what is understood today as contemporary art or is that the job of future generations to classify it and figure it out? A lot of artistic currents in the past were self named and it’s not all a categorization imposed by art historians. So yeah, after all, a piece of art is something that should trigger some sort of thinking; and this is working quite well here.DSC_1234

Camera Selfies

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Image courtesy of Seen by

Camera Selfies is a series by J.F. Novotny, a German photographer who experiments with the concept of the selfie and applies it to vintage cameras. He places the camera in front of a wallpaper (which is sometimes too elaborate for my taste in some of the photos) contemporary to the camera. His aim is to capture the personality of each camera in a false self portrait. The viewer sees the artwork from the perspective of the mirror.

I find the idea more interesting than the artworks themselves but still worth publishing. I particularly like the Polaroid selfies since you can see a triple reflection of the subject; as the camera itself, the developed photo, and the reflection in the lens.

You can check out the rest of the series or even buy them here.

Silence

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Image courtesy of Agata Wierzbicka

This illustration takes the mirror image to a level of non symmetry that I find quite interesting. I mean obviously the image responds to itself with an added detail but it another thing that makes it diverge from symmetry in the traditional sense is the way the subjects are laid out. It’s clearly not a perfect mirror image but that means it’s also not a flat one; and this is also helped by the grey background and the unfinished feel that this illustration has.

This is a typical characteristic of Agata Wierzbicka’s work which you can check out here.

Zac Posen Fall 2015

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I guess today’s post is an unpopular opinion. Apparently the person who wrote the Vogue review of this show didn’t really like this dress. Also it’s a throwback to the first exhibition I ran on this blog rather than continuing on the one I launched this month, but it’s my blog and I think Naomi Campbell is totally rocking that dress even if she might be the only person in the world who can.

Anyway, this was the superficial fashion interlude and we’ll go back to art next week.